Loss of big-game player KP is a major worry

Andy Lloyd

FOR all of his quirks, Kevin Pietersen is not just one of England’s top players – he is one of the best in the world.

What’s more, Pietersen has a fantastic track record of delivering high scores when needed and his absence for the Champions Trophy or the Ashes would be a major blow. Put alongside the existing injury to Graeme Swann, England’s frontline spinner, the situation is a big worry.

I don’t think England will risk Pietersen in the home series against New Zealand if there are any doubts about his condition whatsoever as the Champions Trophy will be the main concern.

In the short-term Jonny Bairstow looks likely to replace him in the third Test in Auckland, while Joe Root and Jos Buttler have showed promise and are options for the rest of the summer.

England dominated the second Test, with Stuart Broad’s wicket-taking hugely encouraging, and my main hope is that the weather does not get in the way of England wrapping up what ought to be a straightforward win.

Andy Lloyd is a former England test cricketer who has also been captain and chairman of Warwickshire.